5 Ways to Deal With Criticism

Criticism, no matter what your profession is, at some point, you will receive some for your work. This can come in the form of academic critique on your research, a sit-down meeting with your supervisor, or the off-hand comment from your co-worker. Oftentimes, criticism sucks to hear, and it can make you doubt your self-worth. Here’s some steps you can take to handle criticism in the workplace.

  1. 1. Deal with the criticism gracefully (unless the comments are flat out abusive).

    You may feel embarrassed, confused, and hurt. These are all valid emotions, but be careful to not react emotionally. Understand that most likely, this person is coming from a place of concern and care. Therefore, thank them for their advice/critique, and excuse yourself from the situation. This prevents you from inflaming the situation or saying something you’ll regret. 

    HOWEVER, If anyone insults your physical appearance or aspects of your personal identity under the guise of “constructive criticism,” that is 100% not okay. You have the right to cut off the conversation and express that their comments are inappropriate and unacceptable. Report the altercation to any supervisor or HR department that you have access to.

  2. 2. Regroup At home.

    Once you're at home, push through the embarrassment or pain you’re feeling, and carefully examine why the comments are making you feel such strong emotions.

    Did the comments hit a nerve within you? 

    Have you received similar criticism before?

  3. 3. Is there validity to the criticism? If so, ask yourself these questions:

     Have you yourself noticed a decline in your performance at work/school/internship? Are there factors in your personal life that are negatively affecting your work performance? 

    Sometimes, we force ourselves to submerge the less than ideal portions of our lives, because we just can’t handle facing the things we’ve locked away. Oftentimes, criticism (when done right), comes from a place of genuine concern and caring. 

  4. 4. Reach out and ask for help.

    With a level head, approach the critic and ask for applicable solutions that can help improve your performance. You have the right to ask them for advice. Criticism is only beneficial if it comes with a path for improvement. 

  5. 5. Don’t beat yourself up about it.

    Be kind to yourself, and to others. If you don’t have the emotional stability to go on the path of self-improvement, you don’t have to. All in all, you know yourself best. You have worked hard to get to where you are, and that’s commendable. Examine the things you say to yourself by imagining that you’ve said them to a good friend. If you wouldn’t say it to your best friend, don’t say it to yourself. Stay safe, and stay healthy.